Cross
Overview of Copyright Licensing for Churches

There is much confusion about about what kinds of licenses a church may need to comply with the copyright laws. Let's start with a few basics:

Download and read "Copyrights 101 by Church Copyright Solutions"  and watch this video:

Religious Services Exemption:

The religious service exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law (Section 110[3]) states:

“performance of a non-dramatic literary or musical work, or of a dramatico-musical work of a religious nature or display of a work, in the course of services at a place of worship or other religious assembly” shall not constitute infringement of copyright. The Congressional history shows that the exemption does “not extend to religious broadcasts or other transmissions to the public at large, even when the transmissions were sent from a place of worship.” (From "Religious Service Exemption - US Copyright Law" by Church Copyright Solutions) 

Six Rights That are Exclusive to the Owner of a Copyrighted Work:

Reproduction licensing:  Only the owner of a work is allowed to copy or reproduce that work.

See the Church Copyright License and the Church Rehearsal License from Church Copyright Licensing International (CCLI), an organization that licenses copying, rehearsal, and streaming activities for congregational singing. Over 3,000 publishers/copyright owners and over 300,000 worship songs are covered. 

Performance licensing: The owner of a work controls if and when that work will be performed publicly. Unless performed during a religious service, church performances of copyrighted material are subject to permission from the owner of the work.

See the PerformMusic License from Church Copyright Solutions.(CCS), a Christian company that partners with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC (performing rights organizations) to offer one-stop performance licenses that allow religious organizations to legally play, perform and stream over 17 million Christian and secular songs of all genres.

Distribution licensing: Only the owner of a work can make that work available to the public by sale, rental, lease, lending or gifting.

See the Church Copyright License from Church Copyright Licensing International (CCLI), which allows a church to record and sell your worship services (audio or video) provided you only record live music. 

Public Display licensing: Only the owner of a work can authorize the public display of that work.

See Church Video License from Church Video Licensing International (CVLI), an organization that provides legal coverage for churches and for other ministry organizations to show motion pictures and other audiovisual programs.

Digital Recording Performance:  The owner of a sound recording determines if and when that recording will be transmitted digitally.

See the WorshipCast License from Church Copyright Solutions.(CCS), a Christian company that partners with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC (performing rights organizations) to offer one-stop performance licenses that allow religious organizations to legally play, perform and stream over 17 million Christian and secular songs of all genres.

See the Church Streaming and Podcast License from Church Copyright Licensing International (CCLI), an organization that licenses copying, rehearsal, and streaming activities for congregational singing. Over 3,000 publishers/copyright owners and over 300,000 worship songs are covered. 

Making Derivative Works: Only the owner of a copyrighted work is allowed to create new works that are "based" on a pre-existing work. 

See PermissionsPlus from Church Copyright Solutions.(CCS), a Christian company that partners with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC (performing rights organizations) and provides copyright professionals to administer and secure the licenses or registrations you need for a variety of situations from performing to streaming to syncronizing music on your video.